5/24/18 Congrats to Laura Wonilowitz! She recieved the Biochemistry Department's 2018 Thomas O. Sitz Scholarship.

05/14/18 We welcome Justin Grams to the Santos group!

04/27/18 Three awards for the Santos group: Outstanding research (Russell Fritzemier), Graduate teacher (Ashley Gates), Undergrad research fellowship (Greg Traversa)

03/29/18 Congrats to Jose and Jacob for passing their prelims with flying colors!

01/01/18 We welcome 4 new first years to the group:

Jonathan Bowen (Wake Forest), Chris Garcia (Cal State), Daniel Foster (Purdue)& Connor Szwetkowski (Rider)

11/29/17 Beth's review on mitochondrial uncouplers is accepted in J. Med. Chem. Great job!

11/14/17 Congrats to the boss! His endowed A.C. Lilly Faculty fellowship is renewed.

9/13/17 We welcome postdoc Joe Salamoun! He comes from the Wipf group at Pitt.

9/11/17 Russell's trans silaboration of triple bonds is published in Chem. Eur. J. Fantastic work!

7/20/17 Our collaboration with the Ratajczak Lab has provided a role for Sphingosine kinase inhibitors in the egress of stem cells--oncogene.

7/12/17 Jessica's paper in using branched peptides as antimicrobials is accepted in ACS Med. Chem. Lett. Awesome job!

7/1/17 Congrats to Ashley Peralta for winning an ACS BIOL travel award.

6/22/17 Kuddos to Dr. Childress for successfully defending her dissertation. She is off to the Lindsley Lab at Vanderbilt University.

5/1/17 Congrats to Beth Childress for winning the dept of chemistry graduate research award!

4/14/17 Beth Childress's work on developing sphingosine kinase inhibitors is accepted in J. Med. Chem. Congrats!

4/5/17 Our twins (Eric Medici & Chris Sibley) passed their prelims. Woohoo!

3/14/17 Laura Wonilowicz was selected as an Amgen Scholar in UC Berkeley's Summer Research Program. Best of luck Laura!

3/6/17 Russell Fritzemeier and Ashley Gates passed their prelims. Well done!

3/2/17 Astha and Russell's work on transition metal-free diboration is published in Angew. Chemie. Congrats!

12/12/16 Congrats to the Santos lab! A seed grant to study sphingosine kinase inhibitors and multiple sclerosis was recently funded.

11/15/16 Congrats to Beth Childress for winning a student travel award from the lipids conference at SERCL.

11/9/16 Congratulations to Ashley Peralta and Yumin Dai for winning best poster at the VT Center for Drug Discovery Poster session.

10/27/16 Our latest PhD from the Santos Lab: Dr. Amanda Nelson. Congrats!!!

9/1/16 Jessica accepted a position at Merck Inc.

8/23/16 Molly Congdon accepted a postdoc position at NIH/NCI with Jeff Gildersleeve. Good luck!

8/19/16 Congrats to Cheryl Peck for receiving a College of Science Doctoral assistantship award!

8/19/16 Dr. Srinath Pashikanti moves to Idaho State University as an assistant professor. Best of luck Sri!

8/17/16 Cheryl's paper is highlighted in organic chemistry portal.

8/17/16 Thanks to NIH/NIGMS for funding our RO1 grant! Cheers to the Santos lab.

8/16/16 Our expert opinion on sphingosine kinase therapeutics is accepted for publication.

7/19/2016 Molly successfully defended her Ph.D. Congrats Dr. Congdon!!!

7/15/2016 Congratulations to Dr. Jessica Wynn for passing her Ph.D. defense with flying colors!

6/2/2016 Jessica's paper on inhibiting HIV-1 replication in cells is accepted in MedChemComm. Fantastic work Jess!

5/25/2016 Astha's chapter on copper-catalyzed organoboron cross-coupling has been accepted. Great job, Astha!

5/3/2016 Congrats to Sri, Joe, Chris, and Matt. Their hydrosilylation of allenes work in water is accepted by Org. Lett.

4/23/2016 Molly received a travel award from the ACS Med Chem division to attend the ACS meeting in Philly this fall. Awesome Molly!

4/22/2016 Amanda and Cheryl's borylation of alkynoates and alkynamides in water is accepted in JOC. Great job to both!

4/22/2016 Congrats to Molly Congdon for winning an outstanding graduate research award!

4/5/16 Undergrad Laura Wonilowicz won a Fralin Summer Fellowship to work in our lab this summer. Well done Laura!

4/4/16 Jessica's paper regarding branched peptide boronic acids is accepted at Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry. Great Job!

3/22/16 Beth Childress was selected for a prestigious P.E.O. Scholar Award. Congrats and well done!

3/14/16 Congratulations to Molly! Her sphingosine kinase work is featured on the front cover of ACS. Med. Chem. Lett.

3/1/16 Dr. Astha Verma leaves the lab for a job at KBI Biopharma. Best of luck!

2/15/16 We welcome two first year students: Chris Sibley and Eric Medici.

2/3/16 Molly's naphthalene-based Sphingosine Kinase inhibitors is available online at ACS Med. Chem. Lett. Congrats Molly!

12/7/15 Beth Childress won a CCG Research Excellence Student Travel Award from the Division of Medicinal Chemistry-ACS. Congrats!

11/6/15 Congratulations to Beth Childress and Jessica Wynn for winning awards during VT's Center for Drug Discovery Poster Session!

10/01/15 Prof. Santos is now a fellow of the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology (ICAT).

8/26/15 Congrats to Beth Childress for receiving a College of Science Doctoral assistantship award!

8/4/15 Congrats to Emily, Molly, and team sphingosine kinase for their hard work. The in vivo effects of inhibitors is published in JPET.

7/24/15 Emily Morris recently accepted a teaching position at Manassas Park High School. Woohoo!

7/15/15 Alumni Matthew Nguyen will be attending VCU Medical School this fall. Congrats Matt!

7/1/15 Thanks to ARDRAF for funding our work with sphingosine kinase and Alzheimer's Disease.

6/22/15 Jessica Wynn receives a travel award from the BIOL division of the ACS. Great job!

6/11/15 Joe Calderone's paper dealing with mitochondrial uncouplers for the treatment of diabetes is accepted in BMCL. Congrats!

6/11/15 Fulbright scholar, Amanda Nelson, is highlighed in VT news!

4/28/15 Jessica's review of branched peptide is published in Org. Biomol. Chem. Congrats!

4/25/15 Congratulations to Amanda Nelson for receiving a Fulbright Scholarship! She will be spending a year in Germany with Todd Marder.

3/16/15 Congratulations to Molly on her work with the SAR of sphingosine kinases, which is published in Bioorg. Med. Chem. Lett.!

3/12/15 Cheryl's paper on aqueous borylation of alkynoates is published in Synthesis. Congrats!

3/03/15 Xi and Amanda's paper regarding unsymmetrical diboration is published in ACS Catalysis. Well done!

2/04/15 Neeraj and Emily's selective inhibitors of SphKs is published in J. Med. Chem. Congrats!

1/08/15 Congratulations to Jessica Wynn for receiving a graduate school doctoral assistantship award.

11/20/14 Our review of sphingosine kinases appears in ACS Chemical Biology.

11/6/14 Congratulations to Dr. Xi Guo for passing her dissertation defense. Fantastic job!

10/15/14 Dr. Santos is a recipient of Fralin/ICTAS Innovator's Award from Virginia Tech.

9/30/14 Dr. Santos is named as Cliff and Agnes Faculty Fellow.

8/25/14 Dr. Santos presents at IME Boron Conference in Prague, Czech Republic.

7/16/14 Joe Calderone's Angewandte paper is highlighted in SynFacts. Great job Joe!

6/25/14 Ashley Peralta joins the Santos group.

6/20/14 Jessica Wynn won second prize oral presentation at BORAM XIV, an international meeting of boron chemists. Congrats!

5/17/14 Congratulations to our recent graduates. Dr. Wenyu Zhang will be a postdoc at NIH with Dr. Kuan Wang. Matt Nguyen will be a postbac researcher with Dr. Sidransky at NIH.

4/25/14 Congratulations to the Santos Lab. Award winners from the Chemistry Dept:

Outstanding graduate research: Wenyu Zhang

Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant: Molly Congdon

Second Place Poster Winner: Matthew Nguyen

Summer Research: Sean Rafferty

Schug Research Award: Webster Santos












May 2018


Current Members

Prof. Webster




photo of daniel hoagland

Dr. Daniel


Post Doc


[Univ. Tenn Health

Science Center]

photo of Joseph Salamoun

Dr. Joseph


Post Doc


[University of


photo of Hao Li


Hao Li

5th Year


(Solvent System)

[Beijing Univ. of

Chemical Technology]


photo of yumin dai

Dr. Yumin Dai

Post Doc


[Virginia Tech]

photo of Ashley Peralta


Ashley Peralta

4th year


(HPLC, lyophilizer,

Mermaid, UV-Vis)

[Hampton Univ.]

Russell Snead


Russell Snead

5th Year





Chris Sibley

Chris Sibley

3rd year


(Signals, Lyophilizer,




Russell Fritzemeier



3rd year





eric medici

Eric Medici

3rd year



Solvent System)

[Davidson College]

Ashley Gates

Ashley Gates

3rd year



[Penn State]

picture of justin grams

Justin Grams

3rd year




photo of Jose Santiago-Rivera

Jose Santiago-Rivera

2nd year



[Univ. of Puerto Rico]

jacob murray photo


Jacob Murray

2nd year


(pH meter,


[Nazareth College]

photo of Chris Garcia

Christopher Garcia

1st year



[California State Univ]

photo of Daniel Foster

Daniel Foster

1st year


(Lab Safety,

Mermaid, UV-Vis)

[Purdue Univ.]

photo of Johnathan B.

Johnathan Bowen

1st year



[Wake Forest Univ.]

photo of Connor S.



1st year


(Chem Inventory,


[Rider Univ]

greg traversa photo

Greg Traversa


Chemistry Major



Laura Wonilowicz

Laura Wonilowicz







Group Meeting Schedule

Our group meetings are held in Hahn Hall North 400 (conference room) at 7 pm. All students interested with our group are encouraged to attend our meetings. Check with Prof. Santos for any last minute group meeting changes.







Problem Set

May 15

No Meeting

No Meeting

Ashley G

May 22




May 29

Chris G.



June 5

No Meeting

No Meeting


June 12



Chris G.

June 19

No Meeting

No Meeting


June 26

No Meeting

No Meeting


July 3

Russell Snead



July 10


Chris S.

Ashley P.

July 17


Chris G.


July 24

Russell F.

Ashley G.

Russell S.

July 31


Joe S.

Chris S.

August 7

No Meeting

No Meeting


August 14


Russell F

Chris G.

August 21

No meeting

No Meeting

Ashley G.

August 28



Joe S.

Sept 4

No Meeting

No Meeting


Sept 11


















To sign-up for the Santos' group instruments:

username: your vt login id


Former Members

DR. Cheryl Peck, PhD Chemistry 2017, accepted a position as a Post-Doc in the Frank Gupton lab at VCU

Dr. Elizabeth Childress, PhD Chemistry 2017, accepted a position in the Lindsley Laboratory at Vanderbilt University

Dr. Amanda Nelson, PhD Chemistry 2016, lab manager for undergraduate teaching labs at Stanford University

Dr. Jessica Wynn, PhD Chemistry 2016, accepted a job at Merck, Inc.

Dr. Molly Congdon, PhD Chemistry 2016, Postdoc at NIH/NCI with Dr. Jeff Gildersleeve.

Dr. Srinath Pashikanti, Post-Doc 2015-2016, accepted a teaching position at Idaho State University, College of Pharmacy, in Pocatello, ID

Dr. Astha Verma, Post-Doc 2015-2016, accepted a job at KBI Biopharma

Joseph Calderone, MS Chemistry 2014, accepted a job as an R&D Engineer with Afton Chemical in Richmond.

Emily Morris, MS Chemistry 2015, accepted a job at Manassas Park High School as their new Chemistry teacher.

Ken Knott, MS Chemistry 2015, Analytical Services at Virginia Tech

Dr. Xi Guo, PhD Chemistry 2014, celebrated the birth of baby!

Dr. Neeraj Patwardhan, Postdoc 2012-2014, Postdoc with Prof. Hargrove at Duke University

Dr. Wenyu Zhang, PhD Chemistry 2014, Postdoc with Dr. Kuan Wang at NIH

Joseph Calderone, MS Chemistry 2014, Compound Process Engineer, Yokohama Tire Co.

Dr. Mithun Raje, PhD Chemistry 2012, Postdoc with Prof. Tsukamoto at Johns Hopkins

Dr. Brandon Thorpe, PhD Chemistry 2012, Principal Scientist, SphynKx Therapeutics

Dr. David Bryson, PhD Chemistry 2012, Post Doc with Prof. David Liu at Harvard University

Dr. Jason Crumpton, PhD Chemistry 2012, Assistant Professor at Lynchburg College

Dr. Ming Gao, Postdoc 2008-2012, Post Doc with Prof. Mobashery at Univeristy of Notre Dame

Jing Sun, MS Chemistry 2010, Research Scientist at BASF

Michael Perfetti, MS Chemistry 2009, Graduate Student at UNC, Chapel Hill

Dr. Philippe Bissel, Postdoc 2007-2008, lecturer at VT and Hollins College


Michael Lazear, BS Chemistry 2015, graduate student at Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA

Sean Rafferty, BS Chemistry 2015, graduate student at Ohio State University

Joseph Hirst, BS Biological science 2014

Matthew Nguyen, BS Biochemistry 2014, IRTA fellow with Dr. Sidransky at NIH

Analyn Carreon, Visiting Scholar 2013, Ateneo de Manila, Philippines

Julie Ta, BS Biochemistry 2013

James Gumkowski, Fralin Summer Undergrad Fellow, Mullenburg College, currently at Penn. State

Valerie Rojas, Prep Scholar 2012, Graduate Student at Duke University

Leah Heis, BS Chemistry 2011 (James Lewis Howe Awardee), Graduate Student at UNC, Chapel Hill

Marietou Paye, Prep Scholar 2011, Graduate Student at Georgia Tech

Wes Morris, BS Chemistry 2009 (James Lewis Howe Awardee, HyperCube Scholar), Graduate Student at Cornel

Evan Gilius, BS Biochemistry 2009

Caitlyn Criss, BS Biochemistry 2008, West Virginia School of Ostheopathic Medicine

Allison Pagano, BS Biochemistry 2009, Medical School

Ryan Stephens, BS Biochemistry 2009 (Arthur G. Meakin Scholar), UNC Medical School

Daniel Shook, BS Chemistry 2007, United States Patent and Trademark Office